The Monkey Bars of Love

One friend ended her 12-year relationship and within months met the man of her dreams. Another had a man in the wings waiting to take center stage when her marriage ended. Most of the rest had affairs that catapulted them from marriage into someone else’s arms—at least temporarily.

I came out of my marriage convinced that I was unlovable. I could not imagine any man on earth who would accompany me across the abyss. So when I’d see women around me releasing one relationship as they were entering the next—the way I had traveled hand by hand across the monkey bars as a child—I was envious.

I had nothing to hold onto. No mirror of new eyes to return to me some sense of myself that my marriage had taken. In this standstill of circumstance, spacious with rage, I settled in with my own reflection. I let myself be lost in my own, lifelong insistence of unworthiness until my eyes adjusted to the light.

I understood I would need to be my own affair, because I would let no one else come close to touching me. I would learn to love the woman who looked back at me in ways that I could not yet imagine–so that she could allow others to love her, too. One bar at a time. Hand over hand over hand.

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